13.5 Layover JFK is part of the Reunion Tour Trip Report.
Before I travel, I am required to read my Travel Lessons so I don’t make the same mistakes I always make. I did so this time to my detriment. Let me explain:
Last time I arrived in JFK way too early from Puerto Rico, LOT told me they do not open the check-in counter until 4 hours before the scheduled departure (see JFK: Too Early to Check-In). Due to obscene prices from PR to JFK, I once again had to come early for my trip aboard the world’s longest flight, presented by Singapore Airlines (see World’s Longest & Best Flight: JFK-SIN). I checked SQ’s website to see when the gate would open. The website said three hours prior. I prepared myself in advance for the 13.5 hours I would spend in the terminal by loading up my work schedule.
I arrived at 10AM and went right to Dunkin’ Donuts. $3.58 later I had a large cup of black coffee. I was ready to get to work.
False start: My ambitious attitude was sidelined by JetBlue’s terribly slow Wifi.
The last time I had a long layover, a reader suggested I visit the TWA Hotel (see JFK: Too Early to Check-In). The last time I listened to a reader’s pizza suggestion in Chicago (see Giordano’s Pizza Chicago: Trust Your Taste Buds, Not Your Friends), I came away disappointed. The hotel is overpriced at $200 for 4 hours, the decor is in dire straits, and despite being called TWAFastWifi, the WiFi is even slower than JetBlue’s.
TPOL’s Tip: Don’t listen to readers’ recommendations (see TWA Hotel JFK: Where to Not Spend a Layover).
Two hours later, I had not done any work and I still had no Wi-Fi. I went back to where I spent my time on my previous trip, the food court of terminal one. For $7, I bought chocolate milk and a diet coke. To be clear, airport expenditures are completely against the rules. Strength and resolve are required to wait for the free lounge offerings. I rationalized that it was a business expense.
TPOL’s Tip: Do not fall for airport inflationary prices.
With work progressing, the Lenovo X1 Carbon, advertised to last for days, begged for caffeine. With no power outlets in the food court, I found my new office.
Though uncomfortable, I accomplished plenty.
Though my laptop was juiced, I was out of fuel. Accordingly, I went back to the food court and broke two rules: 1. I spent more money. 2. I ordered McDonald’s, something I only do when I am on the road for weeks and have given up on my attempts to assimilate to local culture (see Did TPOL Buy a 1 Euro Italian Villa?) or because the Tahiti Diet has been destroyed by my lack of moderation (see A Holiday of Healthy, Tipsy, & on Budget? Basically Impossible). For $7.59, I had two basic hamburgers, the only thing edible off that processed menu, and more sodium i.e., Diet Coke.
Stop 6 came at 6PM with my journey back on the Airtrain to terminal 4. I thought maybe there was a chance that I could check in a little earlier than advertised.
Walking to business class, I was stopped by a nice member of SQ’s staff. She asked, “Are you going to SQ via Frankfurt or direct?” Excited, I said direct, thinking she would be impressed. She replied, “Oh well the gate does not open for another hour and a half.” She added, “Had you wanted to check in early you could have come from 2PM to 3:30PM. We have early check in during that time.” My jaw dropped as I meekly told her I had been here since 9AM. She empathetically laughed.
Today’s travel lesson is to ignore yesterday’s lesson and ignore what’s on the website. Ask in person. Had I known I could have been in the underwhelming Centurion or Wingman lounge much sooner (see Closing Time: Chaos & Trash at Centurion & Wingtips JFK). Had I known I would’ve saved myself $18.17!
TPOL’s Tip: Read all the Travel Lessons here.